Obama: US let UN resolution pass because of 'Skyrocketed' pace of settlements
Addressing a New York synagogue, former US president makes rare public appearance where he defends decision to abstain from contentious anti-settlement resolution, seeks to salvage his reputation as a supporter of Israel; 'To be a true friend of Israel it is important to be honest.'
Addressing the New York synagogue congregation of Temple Emanu-El last week, the former president sought to defend his decision that to instruct his Israel Ambassador Samantha Power not to veto the contentious resolution 2334 calling for an end to settlement construction while simultaneously declaring them illegal.
The decision, which enabled the resolution to smoothly pass in the Security with a unanimous vote, sparked outrage in Israel and triggered a rift between Jerusalem and Washington.
“The pace of settlement construction skyrocketed making it almost impossible to make any kind of Palestinian state,” the former president was quoted as saying in the Mail Online.
‘Voting against the resolution would have damaged our credibility on affirming human rights only when it's convenient not when it has to do with ourselves and our friends,’ Obama said.
Contrary to accusations that Obama’s actions had caused a significant deterioration in the US-Israel relationship, he implied that his decision was in fact reflective of the strong bonds.
‘To be a true friend of Israel it is important to be honest about it, and the politics of this country sometimes do not allow for it,’ Obama said.
In a bid to salvage his reputation as a staunch Israel supporter, Obama pointed to the September 2016 signing of a $38 billion aid package for Israel, the largest ever provided by any US administration to any country.
‘It is not a subject for dispute,’ Obama said, adding that he and and his staff would often joke that he was “basically a liberal Jew.”
But despite his public position as an unwavering supporter of Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu slammed his administration at the time, arguing that it constituted a flagrant attempt to dictate final-status terms in the Israel-Palestinian conflict.
"All of the US presidents after Carter met the American commitment not to try and dictate to Israel at the Security Council conditions for a final-status agreement,” an enraged Netanyahu said at the time, before voicing unprecedented scorn for the Obama administration.
“And yesterday, in complete contradiction of this commitment—including specific commitment made by President Obama himself in 2011—the Obama administration carried out a disgraceful anti-Israeli underhanded move at the UN."